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By Jeanell Birk
School is now back in session around the country, but one thing is clear: This school year will not be typical.
“Normal” means something different for everyone this back-to-school season. While some students are headed back to the classroom with in-person learning, most schools are opting for some sort of distance learning plan. Still other families have chosen to navigate the year on their own by joining a pandemic pod or homeschooling their children altogether.
Do you fall into the latter group? Have you found that online learning doesn’t fully satisfy your child’s interests, physical education requirements or basic academic needs? Are you feeling overwhelmed with all of your newfound responsibilities? You may be in need of some extra support, and we can help you.
In fact, there are plenty of resources out there to help make this school year easier on you. Many of them offer necessary planning and organizing, which gives you more time to support and guide your children through the confusion and anxiety of pandemic life.
If you’re part of a pandemic pod or have kids going to school online, take a look at these 11 companies that make remote learning easier.
Subscription box companies offer something fun for everyone!
Check out these boxes that can add excitement to at-home or hybrid learning this school year.
This box is for the future rocket scientist in your life. MEL Science sends your child two to three science experiments each month. While the box is best suited for kids ages 10 and up, the company also offers a version for five to 10-year-olds called MEL Kids. With many students opting for distance learning or homeschooling this fall, MEL Science is an excellent way to bring the hands-on experiences that they would normally receive in a classroom.
Have an aspiring chef on your hands? Raddish Kids is the perfect after school activity to keep them busy. Each monthly box provides three recipe guides, a quality kitchen tool, a colorful apron patch, four table talk cards, a creative kitchen project, three culinary skill lessons and a complete grocery list. They even offer suggestions for those with dietary restrictions. Plus, no kit is ever repeated, so your little culinary master will have endless meals to create. This is truly a subscription box fit for the entire family.
Created by certified early childhood teachers who are also parents themselves, Ivy Kids Kits come with 10 games and activities inspired by a book. The best part? The book itself is included in the kit, too! These subscription boxes are best suited for ages three to eight and are designed to encourage creativity, critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Math, literacy, art, science – this kit truly has it all. Ivy Kids Kits make education equal fun!
Online offerings are abundant, but not all screen time is created equal
Here are 4 companies that get your kids moving, grooving, and learning while having fun:
This company has something for everyone. We mean it – for everyone. With classes on reading to video game design, Outschool is sure to host something that piques your child’s interests. The company offers live online courses and camps to children ages 3-18. Looking for classic academic options? Outschool’s got you covered. Curious about mindfulness, meditation, and yoga for kids? Outschool is the site for you. If you haven’t checked out what this Outschool thing is all about, then get to it soon. Classes fill up quickly!
Pretzel Kids yoga offers online yoga classes for pandemic pods, backyard popups and virtual after-school programs. This awesome kids yoga curriculum was developed by educators who know how to keep kids moving, engaged and having fun – even in online classes! Your children will be having such a good time that they won’t even realize the incredible mental and physical benefits of kids yoga. Whether you’re looking for a fun enrichment activity after a long day at remote school or in a pod, Pretzel Kids yoga classes are the perfect addition to any child’s weekly schedule.
This company offers a full online homeschool curriculum as well as after-school skill building in many subjects for Pre-K through high school students. The student sets their own pace with each program, and it’s easy to follow your child’s progress with up-to-date grades and reports for parents. Time4Learning takes all of the thinking and planning out of the equation and allows your child to learn online on their own terms.
With locations all over the world, School of Rock can keep your young musician jamming throughout the whole year. With new options for virtual lessons now available, this company is perfect for any kid looking to pick up a new hobby or advance their skills during COVID-19.
Commonly known as “The Guggenheim,” this museum is now offering virtual art classes for students in grades K-8, as well as virtual programs for families and microschools. This New York City-based institution was founded in 1939 and is still going strong with plenty of online activities over the last few months. Its classes provide hands-on opportunities for students to explore the museum from the comfort of their homes, and one session even features one of the museum’s very own teaching artists. Pretty cool, right?
Boxed curriculum makes homeschooling a breeze
No curriculum searching, lesson planning, or photocopying necessary – now that sounds like a dream! Check out these boxed curriculum options:
Bookshark features a complete, literature-based homeschool curriculum for children of almost every age, from Pre-K to high school. Everything is planned for you within a 4-day week, leaving the fifth day free for activities like sports, yoga for kids and field trips. Instructor guides for each subject are provided, so your prep time is minimal to none. This leaves you with more availability to be present with your children or get your own work done.
This company notes that its content is written with gifted students in mind, but assures that gifted strategies can benefit all students. The homeschool curriculum strives to be creative and hands-on while encouraging different educational styles. Moving Beyond the Page utilizes an interdisciplinary method to help your student discover the connections between each subject they study. The program is designed for kids from age 4 and up.
Oak Meadow offers a complete homeschool curriculum that provides print-based options for at-home use as well as the ability to enroll with a teacher-supported distance learning school. Their educational philosophy follows rigorous academic standards, emphasizes creativity and supports independent learning while committing to a child-centered education. Oh, and the program just so happens to be accredited through NEASC. Parents can stay organized with checklists, planners, material lists and learning assessment rubrics to track student progress.
Digital tools beat the quarantine blues
While this school year may not be what we hoped for, we can take solace in knowing that there is a vast array of resources available to families raising kids in the digital age.
Whether you’re looking for a complete academic homeschool curriculum or want to fill the gaps in distance learning with enrichment activities, be sure to check out these 11 resources to help you and your kids get through this challenging school year!